When ideas strike while you can’t write them down, use a memory system to peg them to memory hooks for later use.
4 Key Takeaways:
- There’s a tech-free solution to the danger of losing an idea.
- Using memory pegs helps remembering ideas as well as things you need to do.
- Creating your very own pegs makes them more efficient.
- Pegs can even trigger thoughts!
About Sabine McKenna:
Sabine McKenna is a digital educator and off-and-on blogger. She teaches various digital skills to mainly young people in Skerries, Co. Dublin as creative computing courses Skerries (aka cccSkerries) and also runs workshops for children and adults in libraries. This is her fourth CongRegation.
Contacting Sabine McKenna:
By Sabine McKenna
Sometimes, your best ideas come when you’re out and about, hiking, biking, running, walking or maybe on a train or driving. But what if you can’t just act on them immediately, or even write them down?
Here’s a hook you can peg those ideas to, no matter where you are! Or rather, twelve hooks…:
Sun. Shoe. Tree. Shore. Knife. Bricks. Raven. Plate. Wine. Hen. Heaven. Apostles.
You see, they rhyme with the numbers from one to eleven. (And then the twelve apostles – as seated for the Last Supper as painted by Leonardo da Vinci – make up the dozen for me.)
Let’s say you’re out on a walk, thinking of nothing in particular, when thoughts start coming. Your first idea is that you should start a new business selling candles. (Don’t ask, just go with it. Let’s just suppose.) Imagine a huge church candle with a giant sun on it. Really think of that candle. Where it is, how big it is, what shade of yellow the sun is. There, stored in your mind! On you walk.
When another idea comes up (you could sell candles to families before Christmas, with printed personalised messages on them), you peg it to the shoe. In your mind, you cram loads of candles into your walking boots, and you can clearly make out the writing “Happy Christmas, Eveline” on the top one.
The method can be used for reminders, too. You remember the company that sells the wicks you want to use hasn’t come back to you, and you really need follow up with them…. The palm tree in your neighbour’s front garden (be as specific as possible!) has lots of wicks hanging down, which makes it look really strange (strange is good, you’ll remember this more easily).
And so it continues! You add more images to your pegs…
4. You sit at the shore of an ink lake (you need to order printer ink).
5. A knife blade reflects the shine of 1000 candles burning (you want to find an image like that for use on your website).
6. A Christmas tree made of Lego bricks reminds you to sort those Christmas presents for your children.
7. The worm the raven is pulling out of your back garden’s lawn is yellow and glows mysteriously. It reminds you to pay the gas bill. This might not make sense to anyone else, but to you it does (the glow is like that of the gas fire in your living room.) The reminders are highly personal, nobody else needs to understand them!
8. Your ornamental plate which lives on your living-room mantelpiece is filled with lemons, like the ones you saw on your holidays in Spain last year. Time to book next year’s holiday, but you’ve been forgetting about the need to find the best dates with your husband and son. Not any more!
9. In a glass of wine, you see a hair swimming. Ugh. You need to book an appointment with the hairdresser. Why do you always think of these things when out walking?!
10. Two hens are fighting over a tasty worm (What, another worm? Ah well, you’re not going to analyse yourself.) One chicken is dressed in Kerry colours, the other in Mayo. You’ve been meaning to get that new hurley for your daughter!
11. The words “Mama Mia” are printed in huge letters across the sky. Heavenly! You’ll order the Mama Mia 2 movie for your best friend for Christmas. It’ll be great as a stand-by for your next girls’ get-together around New Year’s.
12. Speaking of which… apostles, 12, often reminds you of the need to arrange a get-together with your friends. (Pegs can trigger ideas, too!) So let’s not wait until after Christmas, let’s do something soon!
As you’re a careful person who knows that the mind can’t hold on to information unless you repeat it, you go through those pegs in your mind a few times after adding each new idea. (Candle with sun on it? Check. Boots with candles with writing inside? Check. Tree with wick leaves? Check. You’re on fire! And very happy that you took the time to memorise those twelve ideas you had.
So when you’re out and about and those ideas pop through your mind, you don’t let them get away.
You peg them to your memory hooks! Not the ones I am using – make up your own!
(See Tony Buzan’s books for more on memory techniques.)